Do I need to do a general confession?


#1

Hello–

I converted to the Church almost 3 years ago, and I have been to confession many times since them, including at the traditional parish I now attend. At some point, I did meet with a priest, before my reception into the Church and confessed some bigger mortal sins that were haunting me from my past life. And then I thought I had done all I was supposed to do, and began moving forward, only confessing things as they came up in my life now.

Today, I was listening to a sermon podcast about confession, and I’m suddenly worrying that I didn’t fully confess ALL mortal sins I could remember. I didn’t withhold anything in the confessional, but I am remembering things now that I didn’t confess. And I don’t want any mortal sins on my soul, of course. So, do I need to bring them to Father, sins from 20 years ago, if I am remembering them now? Or are they forgiven already?

Thanks for any guidance here. I have no idea about this one!


#2

[quote="newangela, post:1, topic:308966"]
Hello--

I converted to the Church almost 3 years ago, and I have been to confession many times since them, including at the traditional parish I now attend. At some point, I did meet with a priest, before my reception into the Church and confessed some bigger mortal sins that were haunting me from my past life. And then I thought I had done all I was supposed to do, and began moving forward, only confessing things as they came up in my life now.

Today, I was listening to a sermon podcast about confession, and I'm suddenly worrying that I didn't fully confess ALL mortal sins I could remember. I didn't withhold anything in the confessional, but I am remembering things now that I didn't confess. And I don't want any mortal sins on my soul, of course. So, do I need to bring them to Father, sins from 20 years ago, if I am remembering them now? Or are they forgiven already?

Thanks for any guidance here. I have no idea about this one!

[/quote]

Sins that are genuinely forgotten during Confession are forgiven but any you subsequently remember you have to mention at your next Confession. This, however, does not prevent you from receiving Communion meantime.


#3

I'm a new Catholic too, so take this with a grain of salt, but if there are any sins that escaped your memory when you made your first confession, they're absolved with the ones you did confess to. Sometimes the priest will say "I absolve you of your sins both known and unknown".

However, if it bothers you enough, by all means confess them to your priest the next time you go for reconciliation.


#4

I was away from the Church for many years and returned to it via the last rites received in a hospital. When I was asked by the priest if I wanted to receive Holy Communion, I said yes, but that I was not comfortable in doing so without confession. So he led me through a General Confession. Of course, it was impossible for me to remember all of the evil things I had done in a period of about 50 years, or how many times I did them. But, I realize now that I was truely absolved of these sins because I did not try to hid them.
Even so, I get haunted by the memory of some of the things I did in the past.
The way my confessor explained it, this is Satans way of making me miserable because he lost me.
Very likely the same is with you. I strongly suggest you have a talk with your confessor about this. If you don't have a regular confessor, make an appointment with a priest at any rectory. When you meet with him, explain your situation to him exactly as you have done here. I am quite certain your mind will be at ease after the meeting!


#5

[quote="newangela, post:1, topic:308966"]
Hello--

I converted to the Church almost 3 years ago, and I have been to confession many times since them, including at the traditional parish I now attend. At some point, I did meet with a priest, before my reception into the Church and confessed some bigger mortal sins that were haunting me from my past life. And then I thought I had done all I was supposed to do, and began moving forward, only confessing things as they came up in my life now.

Today, I was listening to a sermon podcast about confession, and I'm suddenly worrying that I didn't fully confess ALL mortal sins I could remember. I didn't withhold anything in the confessional, but I am remembering things now that I didn't confess. And I don't want any mortal sins on my soul, of course. So, do I need to bring them to Father, sins from 20 years ago, if I am remembering them now? Or are they forgiven already?

*What you are going through is quite normal! It is impossible for us to remember every single mortal sin from years ago. So, what happens is - you confess everything you can remember at the time you are making your confession. Then, as time passes, other sins come to mind. They are already forgiven, since you did not withhold them deliberately, but you need to mention them in confession the next time you go. So, yes they are forgiven already, but yes, you do need to bring them to Father at your next confession. Just tell him that you now remember a sin (or sins) that you had forgotten and never confessed. Then tell him what it (or they) was (were). No problem. It is, as a good priest once told me - when the dung heap is frozen and covered in snow, everything looks lovely. Then the thaw comes, and the ugly dung appears, so you shovel it away (confession). However, some corners are still frozen as they are hidden in shadow. Gradually they, too, thaw out, showing some forgotten piles of dung. We shovel these out by mentioning them in our next confession. Do not be surprised if this takes years! *

Thanks for any guidance here. I have no idea about this one!

[/quote]


#6

[quote="Jeff_Moore, post:3, topic:308966"]
I'm a new Catholic too, so take this with a grain of salt, but if there are any sins that escaped your memory when you made your first confession, they're absolved with the ones you did confess to. Sometimes the priest will say "I absolve you of your sins both known and unknown".

However, if it bothers you enough, by all means confess them to your priest the next time you go for reconciliation.

[/quote]

Actually --one is* obliged* to confess forgotten mortal sins if they are remembered.

Not just if it bothers you....

Welcome home!


#7

I will repost some bits of my posts from the past.

One is obliged to confess all mortal sins in number and kind (and circumstance that changes the kind -- like it was your brother you murdered! or the gold cup you stole was from the Church (hence sacrilege))

Venial sins are recommended to be confessed. They can also be forgiven in many other ways.

Of course after a good examination we may not ...remember everything..that is ok...we do what we can..God forgives the forgotten ones too (we need of course to be sorry for all our mortal sins...and amended)...then if we later remember one we forgot..we are to confess it in the next confession after we remember it. (this is different from if we intentionally hide a mortal sin...)

If something is doubtful one notes it is doubtful in some way. While one is not strictly obliged to confess doubtful mortal sins -- it is normally recommended to (though those with scruples may be recommended not to).

Also we may not know the numbers ...we do what can ....and if we do not know..we make an approximation according to our knowledge from our examinination ...3-5x, 5-10 a month for the last 20 years, somewhere around 50 times, around 10x, or it was several times definately more than 10 ....it may be that one has to say: "a few times", "several times" "many times" "many many times" etc

Of course one needs contrition and a firm purpose of amendment.

[Honestly forgetting to confess mortal sins

-is well --forgetting to do so. Hiding such is a different story. Assuming one was contrite and amended and intending to confess all mortal sins --and just forgot to say some ---

they are absolved indirectly.

One is to confess then in the next confession. Of course ones memory could honestly slip again despite ones intent etc to remember.

(Now I will note for some out there -- who struggle with scruples -- they may be in a different boat in some cases. For some seek to confess all sorts of un-needful things --they need a regular confessor who can guide them)

http://jimmyakin.com/2007/03/specific_confes.html (Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers).

As to forgotten mortal sins: jimmyakin.com/2006/09/a_reader_writes_1.html

As to "doubtful mortal sins" (like I am doubtful if I gave complete consent to it) the general recommendation is that those of an ordinary conscience should confess them (noting they are doubtful) and especially those of a lax conscience (again noting the doubt). Though there is not a strict obligation to confess them.

Those who struggle with scruples are often rather recommended to not confess them directly (if they do they too would not it is doubtful).

Jesus is the Good Shepherd ..he loves you --in him is* true life *

(and thus in confession is true life!)


#8

I've had these forgotten sins poo up in memory. I always confess them. It is good to.


#9

If these sins were committed before you became Catholic I hardly think that you would be culpable of mortal sin in these cases since you were not Catholic and did not know they were mortal sins. In order to commit a mortal sin three conditions are necessary.

  1. grave matter
  2. knowledge of it being a mortal sin
  3. full consent (doing it anyway knowing it is a sin)

Unless all three are present there is no mortal sin, but they are serious none the less. If during your confessions you confessed past sins from your childhood and they were forgiven then I don't think it is necessary for you to keep confessing sins you have forgotten unless those three conditions were present. You could still confess them but they have been forgiven in previous confessions. Be careful you don't become scrupulous.


#10

[quote="Joannm, post:9, topic:308966"]
If these sins were committed before you became Catholic I hardly think that you would be culpable of mortal sin in these cases since you were not Catholic and did not know they were mortal sins. In order to commit a mortal sin three conditions are necessary.

  1. grave matter
  2. knowledge of it being a mortal sin
  3. full consent (doing it anyway knowing it is a sin)

[/quote]

A person can commit a mortal sin without knowing the theology of mortal sin....

One need not be a Catholic to commit a mortal sin.

(But yes it can happen that a person could do something that is a grave matter --and yet not commit a mortal sin...and in the case of a convert ...yes some things may not have been "mortal sins" that they did in the past)


#11

[quote="Bookcat, post:10, topic:308966"]
A person can commit a mortal sin without knowing the theology of mortal sin....

One need not be a Catholic to commit a mortal sin.

(But yes it can happen that a person could do something that is a grave matter --and yet not commit a mortal sin...and in the case of a convert ...yes some things may not have been "mortal sins" that they did in the past)

[/quote]

But you need to know it is a mortal sin. A convert could have fornicated in the past, before they became Catholic, but thought that it was perfectly OK based on their beliefs at the time. Once they become aware that it is a mortal sin and they still do it, then yes, it needs to be confessed. A sin is a deliberate act against God, if someone doesn't know an act goes against God how can they be sinning mortally? The three conditions are not met. You don't have to know the theology. Many Catholics don't know the theology but they know the Church says you cannot contracept because it is grave matter, but they do it anyway. Then it is a mortal sin. Non Catholics do not think it is grave matter.


#12

[quote="Joannm, post:11, topic:308966"]
But you need to know it is a mortal sin. A convert could have fornicated in the past, before they became Catholic, but thought that it was perfectly OK based on their beliefs at the time. Once they become aware that it is a mortal sin and they still do it, then yes, it needs to be confessed. A sin is a deliberate act against God, if someone doesn't know an act goes against God how can they be sinning mortally?

[/quote]

I person "could" be invincibly ignorant...or there could be other mitigating things but we are not to presume that they were...

one need not to be a Catholic to commit a mortal sin. One need not have ever heard the term "mortal sin" to commit a mortal sin.

And one can know various matter via natural moral law.

Mortal sin need not be a intended as a "deliberate act against God" --it can be for any reason...

If before I was Catholic I murdered someone -- it did not need to be intended as a "deliberate act against God" for it to have possibly been a mortal sin on my part.


#13

Can it happen that someone (say before they are Catholic) do x, y and z convinced that it is good --and say not have a clue they could be wrong or they need to look into the matter (even though objectively it was grave matter) --and not sin or least not sin mortally? Sure.

That is not in question. We need to avoid presuming that "so and so was not a Catholic so they could not have committed a mortal sin". That would be for us to take up a mistaken line of thinking.

The person would need to examine their conscience in light of when it was done.

In terms of those things of grave matter -it can be a good idea for converts to confess even those they are doubtful they were mortal at the time (and not sure they were not sin at all on their part) -noting of course they are doubtful.


#14

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